Endlovana at Brenton
26th April 2019
A layer of mist was hanging over the Brenton coastline, but no rain was forecast, so Rusell, Gail and I went ahead with our planned visit to this beautiful property on the western Heads. We were joined by Chris Gow who was intent on pulling out as many aliens as possible! It's been quite a while since we walked down the brick road, and we were interested to see the changes.
It is now nearly 23 months since the Knysna Wildfires. The fynbos was looking beautiful, with water droplets hanging from flowers, stems and leaves. The mist also showed up the spiders’ webs which carpeted sections of the vegetation. Selago burchellii (VU), Muraltia, Heliophila subulata, Felicia echinata and nearer the beach Jamesbrittenia tenuifolia and a thick carpet of Solanum africanum coloured the landscape purple. Helichrysum foetidum var. foetidum, various Aspalathus sp. (mostly A. kougaensis and A. spinosa subsp. spinosa) added yellow. Orange and pink hues were provided by Erica discolor var. discolor, Indigofera verrucosa and the leaves of Leucadendron salignum.
As we descended towards the remains of the camp-site, which was destroyed in June 2017, we were greeted by a mass of Erica glandulosa subsp. fourcadei (VU). The south-facing dune slope was dotted with clumps of its resprouting stems laden with flowers. There were many bright green Satyrium princeps (VU) leaves and the silver-grey Gnidia chrysophylla (NT) plants looked healthy, preparing for their flowering season. Although we looked carefully, we did not find any Erica glumiflora (VU) plants in the area where we have seen them on previous pre-burn visits. We hope to find them next time!
All along the road we pulled out aliens, many of which are now over one meter tall and becoming increasingly difficult to remove. Chris did the lion’s share of the work and it was satisfying to see so many lying on the road on our return. Pines, Acacia melanoxylon, cyclops, mearnsii, saligna and Leptospermum laevigatum have become normal sights during our post-fire monitoring and some of these plants ended up on the road. We were particularly concerned about the large number of Red Flowering gums (Corymbia ficifolia) that we found growing down-slope from the parent trees, their urn-shaped capsules having been stimulated into growth by the fire. I know the bees like them, but it won’t take long for these to take over the fynbos!
Thank you Sue for once again giving us permission to visit your beautiful property. We really enjoyed our misty morning hunting for plants along your road. We ticked off 72 species on our list, and there were many more!